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Scientists are building a telescope to seek another Earth — and you can help

“We are seeking to take another pale blue-dot image,” said Jon Morse, former director of NASA’s astrophysics division and current chief executive of the BoldlyGo Institute, a research organization that is co-leading Project Blue. “This is the holy grail of exoplanet research.”

 

Scientists Seek Your Help to Photograph Another Sun's 'Pale Blue Dot'

“It's a great time to be moving on a project like this using private funding,” Jon Morse, the CEO of BoldlyGo and one of the leaders of Project Blue, tells mental floss. “It leverages what NASA has been investing in exoplanet research, along with pulling together the technologies and capabilities that commercial space has been developing, which has really brought a lot of the cost down.”

 
 
 

Telescope to Seek Earthlike Planet in Alpha Centauri System

A scientific research consortium on Tuesday announced plans to build and launch a privately financed telescope the size of a small washing machine in hopes of finding an Earthlike planet in the Alpha Centauri system, one of our closest cosmic neighbors.

 
 
 
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Ambitious mission to capture first picture of Earth-like planet launched

Astronomers have launched an ambitious project to capture the first picture of an Earth-like planet that could be home to life beyond the solar system. The privately-led mission aims to build a space telescope the size of a washing machine and point it at Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth, in the hope of glimpsing a rocky world or two where life may have gained a foothold. If the project is successful, it could produce an image to rival the iconic “pale blue dot” photograph taken in 1990 when Nasa’s Voyager 1 probe looked back at Earth as it barrelled out of the solar system.

 
 
 
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Project Blue: Private Space Telescope to Hunt for Alien Earth at Alpha Centauri

A new initiative called "Project Blue" aims to spy on our interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, to capture an unprecedented visible-light image of any Earth-like planets that might orbit there. The project, which hopes to launch a lightweight telescope into Earth orbit by 2019, was announced today (Oct. 11).

 
 
 

Project Blue Sets Sights on "Pale Blue Dots" around Alpha Centauri

“Looking around the very nearest Sun-like stars is the next logical step in the search for another Earth,” says Supriya Chakrabarti, an astronomer at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who is developing planet-imaging technologies for Project Blue.